7 Things Everyone Should Know About Mainframes

Mainframes are the workhorses of the enterprise. They provide fast, reliable processing power for companies handling large volumes of data. Mainframes aren’t just old technology relics, though.

They’re living and breathing machines that constantly communicate with other systems to run large-scale processes efficiently and without interruption. Below are seven things everyone should know about mainframes.

1. Mainframes are not, All the Same,

If you’ve ever done a quick Google search looking for info about Mainframe computers, what is a mainframe, or Mainframe Solutions, you may have come across references to “IBM Mainframe” or “IBM is a Mainframer.” There’s been a lot of confusion around the different types of mainframes and what they mean.

When you hear people use these types of names, it’s almost as if they are talking about the same type of computer. But there is no uniformity between different mainframes. They’re all very different. Several types of mainframes allow for different performance levels and ranges in prices.

According to places like Micro Focus, “As systems of record, they hold and protect the complex, transactional and operational rules and policies that define an organization. Most mainframes can run multiple operating systems, handle high-volume input and output (I/O), and add or hot swap system capacity, without disruption to the business. A single mainframe can replace dozens, or even hundreds of smaller servers, whereas the reverse would be difficult to achieve with the same levels of reliability.”

2. Capacity Isn’t as Important as Speed

Many people think of mainframes as powerful computers with a lot of capacity to process large amounts of data. But mainframe performance is tied mostly to speed rather than capacity. Many companies that use mainframes have massive volumes of data they need to analyze and work through daily.

Having a computer that can process all this information efficiently is essential for their business operations. Therefore, speed has been the emphasis of mainframe manufacturers for decades. Today, mainframes can process millions of transactions per day at speeds rivaling those of supercomputers.


3. Mainframes Come in Different Sizes

It’s not just different types of mainframes that are available on the market. There are also different sizes within each of the different mainframe types. While some mainframes may be capable of processing three digits worth of numbers, others can handle up to 10 or more digits worth of data. This is a big difference and can greatly affect a company’s ability to process its information.

4. The Problem with Capacity

While speed has been the main focus for mainframes, as volume continues to grow, capacity is as much an issue as it is an advantage. Some companies have opted to downsize from mainframes because they can’t handle the massive amounts of information being pushed their way every day.

For many companies, the problem with mainframes is that they are too big. A computer that can handle ten digits worth of information is already huge. But if your company handles millions of transactions every day, you have to have a computer that can handle millions of transactions every day.

5. Mainframe Capability Comes at a Cost

Not all companies are looking for massive amounts of information to be processed daily. A lot of companies are looking for ways to speed up the information they process greatly. If you’re only doing around 100 transactions per day, you can probably get away with a fairly cheap mainframe or even use cheaper desktop computers.

But if your company is processing millions of transactions every day, you can’t afford to use a mainframe that’s not as powerful as those used by supercomputing centers.

6. Mainframes Are Not Created Equal

As a business grows, it uses more and more mainframe computers. A lot of companies use a few different mainframes to handle all their data. But if you have an application that requires massive amounts of information to be processed from many different systems, you’ll require many different mainframe computers to get the job done.

7. Mainframes Are Used for Many Different Tasks

You may know that mainframes handle huge volumes of data. But the uses for mainframes are not limited to just this one task alone. Most mainframes can be used to run many different software applications simultaneously. This includes a wide variety of transactional and analytical applications, application development systems, and more.

Mainframes are some of the workhorses of the enterprise. But they’re also living and breathing machines that do more than just process large amounts of data. Mainframes used today can support applications for many different purposes.

Written by Frederick Jace

A passionate Blogger and a Full time Tech writer. SEO and Content Writer Expert since 2015.

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